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Mindfulness

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Mindfulness is a technique to assist you to live in the present moment, rather than regretting what may have happened in the pass or worrying about future events. Being present or attentive during a conversation, and or an activity can enhance the beauty and joy of the moment without judgment.

Meditation, yoga, dance or just sitting still are just a few activities that can assist you to become more mindful to the present moment. The goal is to connect to your present surroundings and acknowledge your emotions and feelings without labeling them as good or bad.

When was the last time you had a conversation with someone and you gave them your complete attention without engaging in another activity or thought during the conversation? We all have been programed to be ready with a response. It is very rare that we give our full attention to anything, even a short conversation.

It will take practice, but try to give your full attention to someone you are having a conversation with and notice how different it feels to be fully engaged and focused on the person you are listening to. This practice is not as easy as it seems.

There are structured mindfulness practices available to assist you in becoming more mindful. Check out the link below to listen to a few Mindful Moments, presented by Saybrook University to help you restore your well being during the day, and practice mindfulness.

References

Mindful Moments. https://www.saybrook.edu/mindfulness-moments/

Mindfulness, https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/mindfulness

Featured

World Mental Health Day

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It was World Mental Health Day, on October 10, 2021. Personally, I think we need a whole month to reset. There is so much going on, and if you do not take time to unplug you may feel over whelmed and depressed.

There are a few things you can do to ensure you stay balanced, and well. Get enough sleep, without adequate sleep your body can not regenerate, and you are cranky.

Enjoy nature, and go for a walk, or ride your bike.

Interact with others, some of us have been isolated for so long that we need some physical interaction with other adults. Don’t forget to wear your mask, if you have not been vaccinated.

Find an activity or craft that you enjoy. I exercise, and it is a great way to increase your stamina and well being. I have a friend who builds bird houses, and another who loves to work in the garden.

Take a drive and enjoy the scenery. I have been taking short week-end trips to re-energize, it will change your outlook. Hint: leave your laptop at home.

If these things do not work, you may need to talk to a professional, especially if you have had suicidal thoughts, or feeling depressed for extended periods.

Therapist are now online. Here are a few links for your review. I can not validate the services but these links can help you get you started. https://www.betterhelp.com/get-started/

https://www.top10.com/online-therapy

Stay well and unplug, your mental health depends on it!

Benefits of Stretching

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Stretching is an essential tool to reduce injury when exercising. Stretching increases your range of motion, improves circulation, posture and reduces stress. I

As we age our activity decreases or changes and we do not utilize the same muscle groups. Think about the last time you touched your toes, or reached over your head without difficulty? Many times I feel like an old rubber band. No matter how much I exercise and stretch; my hamstrings are always tight.

I utilize a service called the Stretch Lab. Trainers are used to assist with passive stretch of the limbs and torso. Sessions can be scheduled in 25 to 50 minute intervals, weekly or every other week.

According to the website “StretchLab offers consumers more ways to reduce their risk of injury, regain mobility, improve flexibility and range of motion, and reclaim their freedom.” Stretching is essential to reduce injury and improve mobility when exercising. It also keeps you flexible and limber as we age.

Check it out the Stretch lab in your city, and try it for yourself. You will be glad you did.

Just keeping you informed.

Reference:

Mayo Clinic (2022). Health and fitness. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/stretching/art-20047931

Stretchlab. https://www.stretchlab.com

Popliteal Cyst or Bakers Cyst

A Baker’s cyst by itself is usually not life threatening. However, it is a sign there there may be something wrong with your knee and may cause some discomfort and pain.

A Bakers cyst is a fluid filled sac that lies at the back of your knee. It can appear suddenly after an injury to the knee. The cyst communicates with the knee joint and fluid travels from within the knee, forming the cyst. (Pai, 2022).

The cyst is often diagnosed with a physical exam. However, because some of the signs and symptoms of a Baker’s cyst, it may mimic a blood clot, aneurysm or tumor (Baker’s Cyst, 2022). Your physicians may order an ultrasound or x-ray to confirm the diagnosis.

A Baker’s cyst may fluctuate in size but alternating an ice pack with heat and elevating the effective limb can be an effective measure. If the pain does not improve with these measures, see your physician.

Just keeping you informed.

References

Baker Cyst. (2022). https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/bakers-cyst/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20369955

HealthPrep Staff (2022) Causes and Risk Factors of a Baker’s Cyst. https://healthprep.com/conditions/causes-risk-factors-bakers-cyst/?utm_source=bing&utm_medium=search&utm_campaign=370437808&utm_content=1266638077255350&utm_term=bakers cysts treatments&msclkid=e070c479a41e10a870cda6db9109fe3a

Pai, V. (2022). Should I be Worried About My Baker’s Cyst? https://vishalpai.com.au/news/bakers-cyst-knee

Trauma

Initially I wrote this blog to address the senseless murder of ten precious souls that were killed in Buffalo on May 14, 2022. But today on May 24,2022, two teachers and 19 children were gunned down at school. As a registered nurse I have provided care to individuals that have experienced physical trauma, i.e gunshot wounds, stabbings, car accidents and other traumatic injuries. During this initial insult, we forget about the mental trauma that also occurs as a result of these injuries.

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American’s are experiencing both mental and physical trauma once again by a mass shooter that demonstrated hate and disdain for others. This causes one to question how can those in power continue to sit and watch and do nothing to protect the citizens of this country? It is distressing and the reality that this behavior continues to happen, is incomprehensible. The hypocrisy is startling because the same individuals that claim to worry about the sanctity of life, want to instill fear and retain power over others. It must stop.

As a member of the global majority, I grow weary of Congress and others who pretend they care about my interest and safety. The lens in which they view the world continues to be opaque and diluted.

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I can confidently say all of us want to be free to live, thrive and enjoy our friends and families. We all have day to day activities that are required for us to live our lives to the fullest, and many are just trying to make it through the day. Either way, we all want to live without fear from those who foster hate and distrust.

No one wants to experience trauma at the hands of others. This issue is becoming too common and nothing has changed. Many states have loosened gun laws and one has to assume everyone has a weapon and that can be paralyzing for many including law enforcement. But, that is another story.

It is time for change. Aren’t you tired of hearing about senseless murders of Americans on the news? Think about all the gun related deaths that occur that are not covered by the media. Either way it is time for a new congress. It is time to retire the career politicians, because they have shown they do not care about their constituents. Everything appears to be about their personal agenda. It is time for action, people!

Please do your part and vote your interest because your life literally may depend on it.

Roe vs Wade

The word is out, this 50-year-old law maybe disbanded this summer by the Supreme Court, after a leaked memo. One side is upset about the leak and happy about the ruling and others are extremely upset.

Roe v. Wade was a landmark legal decision issued on January 22, 1973, in which the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a Texas statute banning abortion, effectively legalizing the procedure across the United States. The court held that a woman’s right to an abortion was implicit in the right to privacy protected by the 14th Amendment to the Constitution. Prior to Roe v. Wade, abortion had been illegal throughout much of the country since the late 19th century. Since the 1973 ruling, many states have imposed restrictions on abortion rights. (https://www.history.com/topics/womens-rights/roe-v-wade).

Personally, I am tired of women crying about this issue. We act like we do not have any power to do anything about issues that affect our well-being. Until women get serious about issues that affect them, nothing will happen. The women in the US need to take lessons from the women in Iceland and other Nordic countries who have achieved gender equality in their tiny nation. The United States cannot seem to get pass racial biases so gender equality will be slow to achieve.

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Please get it together. We had a chance to vote for a qualified women in 2000, but some of you choose to vote for an individual who had a history of disrespecting women.

So, if women are to progress in this country, let’s start with the midterms and do your part. Organize voters and support those candidates that are pro choice.

Thank you!

References:

https://guidetoiceland.is/history-culture/gender-equality-in-iceland#:~:text=Women%20make%20up%2066%25%20of%20graduates%20from%20University%2C,Photo%20from%20Wikimedia%2C%20Creative%20Commons%2C%20by%20Magnus%20Fr%C3%B6derberg.

This is why Iceland ranks first for gender equality. https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2017/11/why-iceland-ranks-first-gender-equality/

Chapman, M. Gender Equality in Iceland. https://guidetoiceland.is/history-culture/gender-equality-in-iceland

https://adventures.is/blog/icelandic-women/

Happy Nurses Week!

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The theme for nurse’s week, this year is “You Make a Difference,”. The American Nurses Association (ANA) selected this theme for 2022 to recognize and promote the contributions and positive impact of nurses within our communities (American Nurses Association, 2020). National nurse’s week is celebrated May 6-12.

The pandemic has stressed and over worked nurses these last few years. Many nurses are leaving the profession due to the unseen expectations. Nurses continue to be the most ethical profession for the last 20 years. During this time of alternative facts, strong ethical standards remain an essential element in healthcare. Trust promotes effective communication and expectation between nurses and the public.

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Nurses do make a difference in patient outcomes and healthcare facilities cannot maintain good quality of care without them. I am proud to be a nurse and continue to find enjoyment in assisting others as they maneuver through the healthcare maze.

To my peers and colleagues, I hope you enjoyed Nurses Week, 2022 and remember you do make a difference.

Farming 101: Creating a Garden

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Due to the extensive use of pesticides and cost, many are choosing to grow their own food. Due to space and availability, urban areas are utilizing community gardens.

To create a community garden it involves extensive planning. If that concept is too large for you, create a small garden at home. It is always exciting to see things grow that you have nurtured. If you have children, gardening encourages them to learn about nature and engage in something different and new.

It is getting late in the season for planting but I believe you still have time. Some areas are still experiencing cold weather. I have been rooting my avocado seeds and as they grow into little trees I give them away because I do not have the space for a mature tree.

Experiencing a bit of nature is always a refreshing way to appreciate life and its surrounding. There are also video’s on Instagram and U tube to guide and instruct you on how to grow small gardens of herbs and fruits for personal use.

Happy planting.

References: How to Start a Community Garden

https://www.instructables.com/How-to-create-a-community-garden/

https://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/kindergarden/CHILD/COM/COMMUN.HTM

https://www.noble.org/news/publications/ag-news-and-views/2018/april/how-to-start-a-community-garden/

Spring Is Here

Its spring and its a time of renewal. Its time to plant, Its a time for you to start shedding those extra pounds. It is time to let go of stale thinking and create something new.

Change can be challenging especially now as we are emerging from the pandemic. Keep in mind the virus may not be gone but the spring weather as sparked a renewal in the life cycle.

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Flowers, other plants are in bloom, birds are singing, and the air is full of pollen. We use to see bees and butterfly’s but unfortunately I have not seen many of these little creatures in a while. This is the time my friend to renew your mind, body and spirit.

Get out and enjoy the sunshine, especially if you are in the south. This wonderful weather won’t last long. Soon it will be to hot to be outside. Enjoy Life!!

Pilates vs Yoga

Pilates and yoga are exercises that built strength and flexibility.   Pilates increases your core strength,  posture, and can ease back pain.  Yoga can also ease low back and neck pain, improve balance, enhance sleep, eases stress while utilizing mindfulness and meditative movements.  

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I find the difference between Pilates and yoga personal preference.   I enjoy the rapid change in movement with Pilates much more than yoga.  Although both are relaxing and stimulating, yoga utilizes slow and repetitive meditative motions.   

Try something different and add one of these exercise modalities to your routine.  We all can benefit with an increase in strength and flexibility.   Just keeping you informed.

  References

Difference between Pilates and Yoga. WebMD. (2021). https://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/difference-between-pilates-and-yoga

High-Fructose

High-fructose corn syrup is a liquid sweetener made from corn, and is sugar that turns into glucose. High-fructose corn syrup was introduced in the 1970s and is cheaper than sugar, has better flavor, longer shelf life, more stable and consistent (WebMD, 2021).  As a result, much of the commercial food you enjoy contain high-fructose to appeal to the consumer.

Fructose is a natural sugar present in fruits, fruit juices, certain vegetables, and honey (Nail, 2021).  In these forms, fructose sugars can be part of a nutritious diet.  The high consumption of foods with high-fructose can contribute to obesity, type 2 diabetes, fatty liver disease, high triglycerides (or fat in your blood ie. high cholesterol) and other issues (Anania, 2011).

The following foods contain high-fructose corn syrup:

  • Fast food items
  • Breakfast cereals
  • Bread and baked goods
  • Sweetened dairy products like yogurts
  • Candies 
  • Canned foods like soups and fruit
  • Soft drinks 

Minimize your risk by reading labels, reducing your consumption of foods high in fructose, and making healthy food choices. Home cooked meals are also an excellent alternative to an unhealthy diet. Cooking at home may not be popular or convenient but you will reduce your risk of disease and other health issues related to eating foods made with high-fructose. Remember food is medicine.

Just keeping you informed.

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References

Anania, F.A., (2011). Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and fructose: Bad for us, better for mice.  Journal of Hepatology, 55:1, pp.218-220.
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhep.2011.01.029.

Nail, R. (2021). Is Fructose bad for you? https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323818

What to Know About High-Fructose Corn Syrup (2021). https://www.webmd.com/diet/what-to-know-about-high-fructose-corn-syrup

American Diabetes Alert Day

The fourth Tuesday in March is Diabetes Alert day. The goal of the American Diabetic Association (ADA) is to educate the public, advocate for research and publish the findings (ADA, 2022). The website offers information on conditions, diet and nutrition.

Diabetes (formerly known as diabetes mellitus) is a condition in which the body is not able to use blood sugar as energy, due either to having too little insulin or being unable to use available insulin (ADA, 2022) There are two types of diabetic conditions, type 1 and type 2.

Type 1 diabetes is a condition in which the pancreas makes little or no insulin. Type 2 diabetes is a condition in which the pancreas does not make enough insulin or is unable to effectively use the insulin it makes to convert blood glucose to energy. Type 2 diabetes is less severe than type 1 diabetes, and can be controlled through weight loss, medications (which may include insulin injections), exercise and diet (ADA, 2022). Many who develop diabetes as an adult have type 2.

The lab test hemoglobin A1C is a measurement of your blood sugar for the last three months. This lab test can identify individuals that maybe per-diabetic if the results are between 5.7% and 6.4% (Yuen, 2017). Normal is less than 5. 7%.

Diabetes is increasing in alarming rates all over the world. This maybe due to change in eating habits and lack of physical exercise, especially in children.

Now that you have the information, it is up to you to change your outcome especially if you are a per-diabetic. Change your diet and exercise. Heed to the warning, the results of diabetes can be catastrophic. You can lose a limb, (leg or foot), your vision, kidney function, that results in dialysis or have a stroke or a heart attack. These issues are life threatening and should be taken seriously and will change your quality of life.

Watch you diet and find some type of exercise you enjoy. Your well being and health depend on it. If you do not have the will to make these changes for yourself, think of how this could impact your family if you had a stroke, heart attack, become blind or become a dialysis patient.

Just keeping you informed!

Reference

American Diabetes Association. (2022). https://www.whathealth.com/organizations/a/amdiabetesasc-us.html

Yuen, A. (2017). How reliable is the Hemoglobin A1C. https://www.clinicalcorrelations.org/2017/04/06/how-reliable-is-hemoglobin-a1c/

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March is National Colorectal Awareness Month

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In the United States, colorectal cancer (CRC) is the second most common cancer and the third leading cause of cancer-related death in men and women under the age of 50 (Bhandari, Woodhouse, & Gupta, 2017). There has been an increase in colorectal cancer in individuals under the age of 45, due to diet and lifestyle.

It is recommended by the CDC that by the age of 45 everyone should get screened for colorectal cancer. As a result, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommended in 2021 the country should invest in preventive care for this issue to insure all have access to CRC screening (Horn & Haas, 2022).

Symptoms include: Change in bowel habits, constipation, diarrhea, and bowel incontinence. blood on or in the stool, unexplained anemia, unusual stomach and or gas pain, weigh loss, fatigue and vomiting.

If you have a family history or notice a change in bowel habits, or are 45 get screened. Once you are screened your physician will determine how often you should return for screening.

Just keeping you informed.

References

Bhandari, A., Woodhouse, M., & Gupta, S. (2017). Colorectal cancer is a leading cause of cancer incidence and mortality among adults younger than 50 years in the USA: a SEER-based analysis with comparison to other young-onset cancers. Journal of Investigative Medicine, 65(2), 311-315.

Horn, D. M., & Haas, J. S. (2022). Expanded Lung and Colorectal Cancer Screening—Ensuring Equity and Safety under New Guidelines. New England Journal of Medicine. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMp2113332

Khatri, M (2022). Symptoms of Colorectal Cancer. WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/colorectal-cancer/symptoms-colorectal-cancer

https://connecticut.news12.com/march-is-national-colorectal-cancer-awareness-month

International Women’s Day !

International Women’s Day is observed annually on March 8 and celebrates the global “social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women,” according to the International Women’s Day website. The day also calls for action to advance gender equality (Mayorquin, 2022).

The Socialist Party of America first declared National Women’s Day in 1909. It would be observed on the last Sunday of February until 1913. In 1910, at the second International Conference of Working Women, a gathering of women from activist and political organizations in Copenhagen, the idea of an International Women’s Day was proposed and approved (Mayorquin, 2022).

Can you imagine what it would be like to live in a world with gender and race equality? The United States has not been the leader for these issues. The women in this country can all relate to the bias toward women as it relates to the social, economic, cultural and political lack of achievements. In 2022, we still have women claiming to be the first and it is very dismal for women of the global majority.

The best performers in this endeavor are the Nordic countries, who have frequently monopolized the top spots in the ranking, and 2020 was no exception. Just below second-placed Norway was Finland and Sweden. In fifth place was Nicaragua, followed by New Zealand, Ireland, Spain, Rwanda and Germany. The most-improved countries were Albania, Ethiopia, Mali, Mexico and Spain. The United States fell two spots and is now 53rd in 2020. The world’s second-largest economy, China also fell and is 106th place (Hutt, 2019).

The theme for 2022 is #BreakTheBias and asks the world to call out instances of bias against women in various venues, that include the workplace, school and at home. You can show your support for this year’s theme by posting selfies to social media posing with your arms crossed with the hashtags #BreaktheBias and #IWD2022 (Mayorquin, 2022).

Just keeping you informed!

References

Hutt, R. (2019). These 10 countries are closest to achieving gender equality. World Economic Forum. https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2019/12/gender-gap-equality-women-parity-countries/

International Women”s Day. (2022). https://www.internationalwomensday.com/

Mayorquin, O. (2022). What to know about International Women’s Day and the theme for 2022. https://news.yahoo.com/breakthebias-know-international-womens-day-191012536.html?fr=yhssrp_catchall

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